EXCLUSIVE: Buoyed by his latest film’s strong platform opening numbers, The Spectacular Now producer/financier Andrew Lauren has just closed a deal for film rights to The Carrion Birds, the novel by The Terror Of Living author Urban Waite. Lauren will produce through his Gotham-based Andrew Lauren Productions shingle. Set in a Southwestern border town, the book tells a contemporary Western story about a killer ready to put down his guns and reconnect with his young teenage son for a life far from the bloodshed. When a final job of stealing a rival’s stash goes wrong near the Mexico border, it puts the killer in the crosshairs of his morally conflicted cousin and a new female sheriff. ALP exec Dave Platt brought in the book and David Boyle made the deal with Joel Gotler repping Sobel Weber Associates Inc. Lauren, the son of fashion icon Ralph Lauren, previously exec produced Noah Baumbach’s The Squid And The Whale.
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
A24‘s The Spectacular Now brought zest to the Specialty Box Office in the dog days of summer, opening with a $50K-plus average in 4 locations. The film bowed to sell-out crowds and clearly is a hit with audiences in its debut, giving it one of summer’s best opening numbers and trumping the more talked about The Canyons in theaters. That film, which had what amounts to a media blitz for a title almost nobody had even seen, opened at IFC Center, grossing $15,200 theatrically (it also opened on other platforms). The Artist And The Model bowed in two runs, grossing nearly $17K, while Europa Report and Our Children opened to slighter numbers. And Woody Allen‘s Blue Jasmine moved into 50 theaters its second weekend, grossing over $2 million and a cool $40K-plus average. Sony Classics noted that that it out-performed box office star Midnight In Paris in its second weekend, even though it was on 8 fewer screens. Also hitting a milestone, Roadside/Lionsgate’s Mud is now atop the 2013 Specialty Box Office pecking order edging out The Place Beyond The Pines which sat atop the Specialty b.o. numbers this year. Both films grossed over $21.4 million in theaters.
Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘The Canyons’, ‘The Spectacular Now’, ‘When Comedy Went To School’, ‘Our Children’, ‘The Artist And The Model’
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Paul Schrader‘s The Canyons is probably the most talked about film this year that relatively very few people have ever seen. There is some irony here given that the film uses the movie biz as a backdrop, but everything gets ensnared by a soap opera played out by the rich and beautiful, sound familiar? After its world premiere earlier this week in New York, the film is heading out to one big screen location before going to select runs elsewhere, but the film is most likely to be seen in a post-exhibitor world much like the filmmaker expects. Sundance 2013 comedy-drama The Spectacular Now culminates its long lead-up to release this weekend with a film that made it there through the steadfast will of its producers. Stand-up comedy makes its return to the big screen with When Comedy Went To School, a historical look look-back at the art. But unlike its “filthier” cousin, The Aristocrats, which came out in 2005 via now defunct ThinkFilm (and with big b.o. success), this one has a decidedly different angle. And French-language title Our Children joins the Specialty newcomers this weekend with a praised but dark drama along with The Artist And The Model set in the south of France.
Director: Paul Schrader
Cast: Lindsay Lohan, James Deen, Nolan Gerard Funk, Amanda Brooks, Tenille Houston, Gus Van Sant
Distributor: IFC Films
Before the likes of Zach Braff and Spike Lee turned to Kickstarter, veteran filmmaker Paul Schrader launched a campaign on the crowd sourcing site for The Canyons after kicking in some of his own cash. It raised $160K for the project (the entire film is believed to cost around $250K), which seemed to almost instantly fascinate the media sphere from the New York Times (magazine) all the way through to the blogosphere both because of star Lindsay Lohan and her male counterpart, porn star James Deen. “We knew all along there would be a polarizing effect because of the sheer nature of Lindsay’s celebrity,” noted IFC Films president Jonathan Sehring.
Off her turn in A Good Day To Die Hard and Sundance success in The Spectacular Now earlier this year, Mary Elizabeth Winstead has put down new dual stakes in the indie world. Winstead is on board with Faults, her husband Riley Stearns’ next directorial project. The actress will play a young cult member whose parents hire an expert to deprogram her, but the expert begins to think they might be more of a threat than the cult. Produced by Snoot Entertainment, Faults is scheduled to start shooting later this year. The actress will also star in Chris Messina’s yet-untitled directorial debut with Derek Luke, who had a recurring role on the first season of FX’s The Americans. Winstead will play an environmental lawyer who is left to raise her 12-year-old son alone after her husband bolts. The Mindy Project co-star Messina is helming the pic with Electric City’s Jamie Patricof and Lynette Howell producing. The latest projects come with Winstead having already been cast as the female lead in the Cinemax pilot Quarry, and she has an album coming out this summer with producer Dan the Automator under the moniker Got A Girl. Winstead is repped by WME, Anonymous Content, and Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein.
Timing is everything. Shailene Woodley‘s Mary Jane may be out of Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man 2, but she shows off the chops that won her and co-star Miles Teller a Special Jury Award at Sundance in the first trailer for James Ponsoldt’s The Spectacular Now. Teller stars as a hard-partying high school senior who strikes up a relationship with the nice girl in school (Woodley). A24 releases the comedy-drama August 2. Check it out:
Anyone who predicts sleeper hits ahead of the summer is either very brave or very spun. But these are the pics expected to emerge through the cracks of tentpole action: All benefit from obvious counterprogramming, festival hype, and demo-targeted storytelling. In chronological order:
– IFC’s Frances Ha has high awareness among its targeted younger-skewing arthouse crowd and exhibitors. “It’s certainly getting talked about in the right places for the audience they’re going for,” one NATO member tells me. Star Greta Gerwig and director Noah Baumbach are indie darlings and scored a talked-about New Yorker piece last week that boosted their profile as a filmmaking couple. According to an IFC Films rep, it’s the sleeper they’re banking on when it releases May 17. “We think we’re going to get great word of mouth,” they tell me.
– CBS Films has two indie pickups budgeted at under $2M each that they’ve slotted into the summer. Sundance pickup Kings Of Summer (formerly Toy’s House) stars three youngsters and has TV stars Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, and Megan Mullally supporting. The studio’s hoping for its Stand By Me-esque story to build momentum with a May 31 limited release. “It’s a movie about discovering in general — which people who see arthouse films spark to,” a studio insider tells me. “And discovery is part of what makes a sleeper hit”. CBS Films is hoping it becomes this year’s Salmon Fishing In The Yemen which was a surprise success for the studio last year.
– Upstart distrib A24 is new to the summer game and has two more youth-skewing pics on tap after scoring a minor youthquake with the sexploitation Spring Breakers in March. The first is Sofia Coppola’s Bling Ring will get a NY-LA limited opening June 14 two weeks after its Cannes premiere.
BREAKING: Upstart distributor A24 has set a June 14 limited theatrical release launch of the Sofia Coppola-directed The Bling Ring, and it has set an August 2 limited release for the James Ponsoldt-directed The Spectacular Now. This spring, A24 launches Ginger & Rosa and Spring Breakers, films also aiming at a young demographic.
The Bling Ring stars Emma Watson, Leslie Mann, Gavin Rossdale and Paris Hilton, latter of whom was actually ripped off by the title characters, young bandits who broke into the homes of well to do celebutantes. The film’s based on the Vanity Fair article The Suspects Wore Louboutins by Nancy Jo Sales.
The Spectacular Now was scripted by (500) Days of Summer scribes Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber and stars Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Elizabeth Winstead in a drama about a mismatched young high school students. It was bought at Sundance in January.
BREAKING: Another Sundance deal as A24 acquires The Spectacular Now, a coming-of-age saga that stars Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) and Miles Teller and premiered Friday in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. Deals are also imminent on Concussion, as well as Austenland, the latter of which has FilmDistrict, looking to partner with Exclusive, as the lead horse going into Sunday night. The deal should have been done already but was held up because Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer, who produced the film, couldn’t take part because she is Mormon and so they won’t close the deal officially until Monday.
James Ponsoldt directed Spectacular from a script by (500) Days Of Summer scribes Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. Teller plays a high school senior extrovert who vows to save an introverted classmate (Woodley), and their relationship grows intense. Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Kyle Chandler also star. Deal was done by UTA. Here’s the official announcement:
Friday night, the first one loaded with the big acquisition titles that forced distributors to scatter their teams to cover all the screenings, gave buyers buyers a lot to think about this morning. I haven’t heard of much action so far (outside of Sundance Selects’ closing a deal for The Summit, the Nick Ryan-directed pic about the attempt by 24 climbers to scale K2, with half of them dying. Just walking up Main Street here makes that an understandable outcome). Everybody’s itching for these deals to start rolling, but sellers are not being hasty. It is hard to land big buck upfront deals, and so they are being extra cautious to extract commitments from potential distributors to make sure these films get a chance to play, with all the platforms available to turn a buck. I saw Don Jon’s Addiction, the writing/directing debut of rising star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who with this film adds another dimension to what is becoming a most unpredictable and intriguing career path. For one thing, his aerobicized frame and onscreen bedroom prowess here has to put him on the short list for the lead role in Fifty Shades of Grey, if that is something he’s even interested in. Don Jon’s Addiction is funny, but Gordon-Levitt plays a buff computer porn addict who gets more gratification from logging on than from his prolific boozy bedroom encounters. Let’s just say a sponsorship from a facial tissue company …
Brie Larson has joined the cast of The Spectacular Now. The actress, who recently starred in 21 Jump Street, will play “Cassidy,” one of the leads in the comedy. James Ponsoldt is directing The Spectacular Now. Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley co-star in the film. Shawn Levy & Tom McNulty are producing. Larson is in the upcoming comedy Relanxious with Oliva Wilde, and Saturday Night Live’s Jason Sudeikis and Fred Armisen. Larson also recently joined the cast of Squirrel to the Nuts. Owen Wilson and, again, Olivia Wilde co-star. Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach are producing Squirrel to the Nuts. Peter Bogdanovich is writing the script. Larson is repped by Gersh and managed by ROAR
EXCLUSIVE: Miles Teller, who starred in the Footloose remake (he played the role that Chris Penn originated) and then starred in Rabbit Hole and Project X, will star alongside Shailene Woodley in the James Ponsoldt-directed The Spectacular Now. Pic is based on the Tim Tharp novel, and Teller plays a charming and popular high school senior who lives for the moment and as a project begins to date a social outcast and realizes he has the power to permanently impact someone’s life. Tom McNulty, Billy Rosenberg and Dan Cohen are producing, and production begins this summer in Athens, Ga. Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber wrote the script.
I’ve heard that Teller is also being eyed by Sony Pictures for the primary role in The Kitchen Sink, a genre script that has a lot of heat on it at the studio. Not bad for a kid who came out of NYU and went right into Rabbit Hole opposite Nicole Kidman. Teller’s repped by CAA and Bold Management.